Whiteclay march is peaceful

Published Thursday June 18, 2009

The annual March for Justice from Pine Ridge, S.D., to Whiteclay marked its 10th anniversary Saturday – 10 years since Wilson “Wally” Black Elk Jr. and Ron Hard Heart were found beaten to death just north of Whiteclay on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Roughly 100 people turned out for the event, which is intended to keep alive the memory of the two men as family members search for justice. Their deaths remain unsolved.

The two-mile march culminated in a rally, where march leader Tom Poor Bear, a brother and cousin to Black Elk and Hard Heart, repeated his resolve that the march will continue until the killer(s) is found.

Because the men were found on tribal land, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the case. No suspect has ever been identified, but the FBI says the case remains open. However, the more that passes, the more difficult it is to find answers. South Dakota now has five FBI victim specialists that focus on violent crime.

This year’s March for Justice concluded peacefully, with no arrests, and the participants took part in a communal meal at Camp Justice on the reservation.

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